Monday, May 22, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 22, 2017

Farmers’ Market Shopping Basket 
I buy over half my weekly groceries at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. It’s fresh; it’s local; and I’m among friends. Here’s what I bought this week: spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, apples, frozen seabuckthorn berries, pasta and sauce, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, soup, banana loaf, chocolate cookie, croissant, and chipotle chile powder.

And my top hits of the week: Salted Caramel and Apple Croissant (addictively delicious) from Proof . . . Fresh Baked Creations; Spinach Fettucine and Leek, Parmesan and White Wine Sauce from the Market’s newest vendor, Cranked – Fresh Pasta; Rhubarb (first rhubarb crisp of the season!) from Wally’s Market Garden; and wonderfully fresh Spinach from Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens.

Vegan Protein Options 
I’m looking forward to trying vegan wheat sausages from Gusta (Dad’s Organic Market). Gusta is a Montreal-based company based at the Jean-Talon Market. They say they are exploring “the power of plants to create richly flavourful, authentic products that also happen to be good for the environment, your body and even your soul!” In addition to 3 flavours of vegan sausages, they sell a vegan cheese that melts and broils well.

Facts about Wine and Health 
Two wine writers who are also gastroenterologists gave a seminar on wine and health recently. Facts about Wine and Health captures some of their remarks. I found this comment particularly interesting: “Taking a week or a month off from drinking wine is not particularly beneficial. 'This idea of doing a cleanse or having a dry January is utter nonsense,’ Apstein asserts. ‘Those that think they need a dry January might be drinking too much the rest of the year.’ ” 

British Food Relies on Migrant Workers
I think a lot of us fail to realize how much food production relies on migrant workers – from picking fruit to food processing. This is certainly true in Great Britain where 20% of farm workers come from abroad and 30% of those working in food manufacturing.

David Kay, managing director of a fruit growing business, says, “ ‘We’ve worked with job centres and with ex-prisoners, but British people don’t want to do these jobs.’ Instead, he says, he gets a steady supply of highly educated and motivated eastern Europeans, most of whom have some connection to farming because their families still have smallholdings. ‘We have a return rate of 76% each year,’ he says, ‘which means we retain a skills base – 70% of our management arrived here as pickers and worked their way up the ranks.’ ” 

Jay Rayner concludes the article by saying, “The Brexit deal isn’t just about vague concepts of nationhood. It isn’t simply about international standing or the ebb and flow of trade. It’s about the lives of individual people like Protasovs and Iclodean, Yusein and Kolev; the ones prepared to do the back-breaking jobs British people are not. What’s more, this is not just their crisis, to be worked out in anguished letters home. It’s ours too. Because without them and the half a million seasonal workers like them, our very ability to feed ourselves, at a price we can all afford, is in peril. In the forthcoming Brexit negotiations that is what’s really at stake.” 

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

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